The Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) is the most successful public health intervention in Bangladesh, and has contributed significantly to reducing mortality and morbidity from vaccine-preventable diseases. The service delivery mechanism of EPI throughout the country has been used as the role model and a platform to deliver other interventions.
It is estimated that a total of 1.2 million deaths have been prevented from 1987-2000 through EPI services. More than 95 per cent of infants receive BCG vaccine on first contact. However, the coverage gradually falls with subsequent doses. Nationally, 63 per cent of infants receive all antigens at the right time and at appropriate intervals.
The elimination of neonatal tetanus is progressing well. Pregnant women and women of childbearing age are provided with tetanus vaccine through EPI. A survey conducted in 1986 found neonatal deaths due to tetanus were 41 per 1,000 live births. By 2000 this had fallen to 2.3 per 1,000 live births. According to a survey in 2000, neonatal tetanus accounts for fewer than 10,000 neonatal deaths a year. It is also estimated that some of the districts have reached the elimination goal, however, this needs to be validated through survey.